Now would be a great time to make a joke about “four gentlemen” but anything Shakespearean would be lost on you lot, so I’ll just tell you that they’re a four-piece from the south of the UK and they play instrumental progressive / ambient metal. Basically, it’s heavy and groovy and a bit trippy but has no singing.
Their debut EP, A Lapse in Time, was released in February and you can grab it via Bandcamp – it’s embedded below. Actually, when I say “can”, please make the word “should” play through your brainpan. I don’t normally go for instrumental stuff, I’m a “sing along in the car” person much to my daughter’s annoyance/embarrassment, but this is a damn fine piece of work and ideal for those days when you want to annoy everyone else without the effort of raising your voice.
It is a very interesting mix of gently breaks and heavy, headbanging beats. Where non-instrumental bands may slow things down a little and leave an empty space in a track, Vrona have taken that “atmospheric” tag and put it to good use with some gentle melody to fill the gap. The progressive side of things means that the music does jump about a bit, but they’ve still managed to make each track flow in its own way.
I’ve found some prog stuff is simply all over the shop, changing tempos and styles like someone’s dropped all the studio recordings through a shredder then glued them back together again in mad panic. Not so, Vrona. Even where the rhythm changes significantly, there seems to be some gradual shift which means it never feels uncomfortable. As such, I found the likes of “Vool” to be almost like an overture – bits and pieces stitched together, but with extra effort put in to make sure the edges have been smoothed off.
They’ve gone for various music styles across the five tracks (plus intro), too. “Vool” is a rocker, for sure. “Assertion” is far more laid back, but with occasional heavier flurries. They’re almost polar opposites, yet both work equally well.
“Miasma” is probably the closest in style to the disjointed style of prog I mentioned, but even this falls into place after a couple of listens. It’s the depth and layering that sells it. Without vocals to drag the attention away, it’s easier to focus on the many instruments and how they interact.
“Acrimony” and “Tempest” round things up and like the first two tracks are very different from each other. “Tempest” is pretty close to a mainstream heavy rock track and, in honesty, would work well with vocals if the band ever decided to experiment in that direction.
As ever, though, listening is better than reading. Vrona show a lot of promise with this release.